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Measuring the pro-poorness of income growth within an elasticity framework


  • Essama-Nssah B.
  • Lambert, Peter J.


Poverty reduction has become a fundamental objective of development, and therefore a metric for assessing the effectiveness of various interventions. Economic growth can be a powerful instrument of income poverty reduction. This creates a need for meaningful ways of assessing the poverty impact of growth. This paper follows the elasticity approach to propose a measure of pro-poorness defined as a weighted average of the deviation of a growth pattern from the benchmark case. The measure can help assess pro-poorness both in terms of aggregate poverty measures, which are members of the additively separable class, and at percentiles. It also lends itself to a decomposition procedure, whereby the overall pattern of income growth can be unbundled, and the contributions of income components to overall pro-poorness identified. An application to data for Indonesia in the 1990s reveals that the amount of poverty reduction achieved over that period remains far below what would have been achieved under distributional neutrality. This conclusion is robust to the choice of a poverty measure among members of the additively separable class, and can be tracked back to changes in expenditure components.

Suggested Citation

  • Essama-Nssah B. & Lambert, Peter J., 2006. "Measuring the pro-poorness of income growth within an elasticity framework," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4035, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4035

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-764, July.
    2. Nanak Kakwani, 2004. "Methods in measuring poverty matter: an Indian story," One Pager 2, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
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    Cited by:

    1. B. Essama-Nssah & Peter J. Lambert, 2009. "Measuring Pro-Poorness: A Unifying Approach With New Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(3), pages 752-778, September.
    2. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Ravallion, Martin, 2010. "Poverty reduction without economic growth?: Explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 20-36, September.
    3. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman, 2017. "Illustrating Income Mobility: Two New Measures," Working Paper Series 6693, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    4. B. Essama-Nssah, 2007. "A poverty-focused evaluation of commodity tax options," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 1114-1130.
    5. Jean-Yves Duclos, 2009. "What is “Pro-Poor”?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(1), pages 37-58, January.
    6. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman, 2017. "Income Dynamics, Pro-Poor Mobility And Poverty Persistence Curves," Working Paper Series 6694, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.

    More about this item


    Achieving Shared Growth; Population Policies; Services&Transfers to Poor; Inequality; Rural Poverty Reduction;

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